TRAVEL TIPS
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  Posted January 16th, 2016 by Zdenko  in Travel | One comment

World Traveling

Source: Reader’s Digest Canada

Top 10 most expensive travel mistakes
Save money on your next vacation by avoiding these costly (and common) travel mistakes.

1. Forgetting to Buy a Service Plan for Your Phone.
Using your cell phone in a foreign land without an international service plan – what we like to call “roaming without a net” – could be shockingly expensive.

Best Health Web-Editor Melissa Greer recently travelled to Greece and Italy for a relaxing two-week vacay. She brought her phone and turned it on infrequently, just to check emails and send a few texts back home. The results? A $1300 roaming fee from her phone company. “I was shocked,” Greer says. “I didn’t realize that turning my phone on for 30 seconds would ever cost so much!”

The solution? Contact your service provider to inquire about overseas fees and packages for voice, text and data. If you’re travelling for a longer period of time, do what Heibert did while travelling in Germany: “I bought myself a German mobile phone because it was a lot less money than taking my Blackberry,” says Heibert.

2. Losing Your Passport
Is there a bigger waste of money than spending your vacation tracking down consulates and misplaced documents? Still, this major goof could happen to the best of us, and Heibert advises all of her clients to be prepared. Make two copies of your passport, leave one at home with a friend or family member and keep the other one tucked away in your suitcase. “If your passport is lost or stolen, take the copy to your consulate so they can trace the number, cancel the original passport and issue you a new one,” she says. Find contact info for the nearest consulate on this list of Canadian offices abroad.

3. Taking Too Much Stuff
Arriving at the airport with overweight suitcases could have you busting your travel budget before take-off. Most airlines allow you to check one bag for free on international flights, but you could be charged up to $100 per additional piece of luggage or overweight bags. “It’s wise to review what you’re bringing and think about what you really need and what you can layer and reuse,” Heibert advises. Regularly check weather reports for your destination to help determine what items you really need. Avoid an expensive situation at check-in, review your airline’s baggage regulations before you pack.

4. Travelling Without Medical Insurance
No one likes to think about worst-case scenarios when planning a fun time away, but it pays to be prepared for accidents. What if you wipe out on a back-country cycling excursion, or for the less adventurous, slip on wet tiles at the spa? Winding up in a foreign hospital without insurance can be a huge financial blow. “Your provincial insurance isn’t necessarily going to cut it, even when travelling in Canada,” Heibert warns. Make sure you have enough medical coverage and top it up if you’re not certain. Here’s hoping you never have to use it.

5. Forgetting to Call Your Credit Card Company
If dropping 200 euro on a purse in Milan is out of your regular shopping pattern (if it’s not, lucky you!), your credit card company may suspect fraud and suspend your card until you’ve confirmed the purchase. It’s comforting to know they’re looking out for you and all, but not having access to credit while abroad is a huge hassle that takes time away from your well-earned vacation. Avoid this situation altogether by giving your credit card company a heads-up that you’ll be travelling.

6. Booking Too Soon
You’ve finally decided to take a dream trip to London next spring. Congratulations! But hold off on booking your plane ticket – making a reservation too soon could be a costly blunder. “People like to book their tickets well in advance, but sometimes they overpay because there are opportunities for seat sales and discounts through your travel agent,” says Hiebert. If you’re travelling to a common destination, wait to book your flight until three months before you want to leave.

7. Making Changes to Your Reservation
Scheduled your holiday on the same date as your sister’s wedding? Seems unlikely, but Heibert says that rebooking departure dates is one of the most common (and expensive) mistakes that travellers make. “You can make all sorts of changes to tickets, but you’re looking at a hefty cost,” she warns. Double check your calendar before making any reservations and consider travel dates set in stone.

8. Arriving Without a Place To Stay
Travelling is an adventure, but landing in an unfamiliar city without a hotel reservation could be a costly risk. You may end up paying more than you expect for a last-minute room if economical accommodations are all booked up. Plus, wandering around jetlagged and desperate for a place to rest probably isn’t your idea of super-fun spontaneity. “I often recommend to people who want to be flexible, that they at least book their first night because when you arrive you’ll be tired and you’ll want a place to put your suitcases down,” Heibert says.

9. Arriving Clueless About Transportation
Do you know how you’ll get from the airport to your hotel, or to the quaint little town you want to explore? Winging it with transportation can really ratchet up the expense of your trip. Cabs can be surprisingly expensive in some cities, so do your research on options for public transportation. If you’re planning to take the train, Heibert recommends buying rail passes before you depart because some of the more economical options may only be available for purchase in Canada.

10. Sticking To The Tourist Traps
While you’ll certainly want to see the Eiffel Tower and stroll the Champs-Élysée, visiting smaller destinations and less-trafficked sites could significantly reduce the cost of your trip. “Some of the most interesting places are not big tourist centres,” says Heibert. “It’s amazing what you can see when you get off the beaten path.”

12 BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
Going on a trip doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet. You can have a wonderful vacation without breaking the bank.

The best way to get the vacation of your dreams is to know exactly what kind of experience you’re seeking. So before booking, chat up your friends, relatives and travel agents to learn about the destinations that appeal most to you. Once you have an idea of where you want to go, follow these tips to help keep to your budget.

1. Travel off-season. Check with the local tourism office to find out when their off-season starts.

2. Travel double occupancy. When travelling with someone, sharing a room will be cheaper than booking two separate rooms.

3. When flying, either plan well in advance (ideally, 10 months to a year ahead) or at the last minute (two weeks or less before you leave).

4. Be flexible. You can save on fares by travelling mid-week, or choosing sunny Varadero, Cuba, over sunny Cancun, Mexico.

5. Check with your credit card company for existing travel or car insurance.

6. Book a package deal or an all-inclusive trip. (But if you prefer local restaurants to hotel fare, or spur-of-the-moment activities to planned outings, all-inclusive may not be a good idea.)

7. Brown bag healthy snacks and meals to avoid pricey airport or train food. Book a hotel room with a kitchenette, to save on meals.

8. Consult with your travel agent to preplan trips; surf the Internet for immediate deals.

9. Ask your travel agent where to change your money to get the best exchange rate.

10. Visit Amtrak Hot Deals or ViaRail Special Deals to get the best prices on North American rail travel.

11. Visit web sites such as Eurail or Flightcentre to buy your European rail pass before you leave Canada.

12. When going by car, use the most fuel-efficient model on hand (subcompact, compact and hybrids are best). To save even more gas, use cruise control, keep to the speed limit, run the air conditioning as little as possible and pack the trunk before loading down the roof.

THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BOOKING YOUR VACATION ONLINE
Finding an affordable online vacation package or a cheap flight is great, but not if it means sacrificing quality. Learn what to look for to ensure your next vacation is a success with 13 Things you didn’t know about online vacations.

1. They Know Who’s a Mac and Who’s a PC
Last year, Orbitz tracked people’s online activities to test out a little experiment: Do Mac users spend more on travel than PC users? Turns out that on average, Mac users lay out $20 to $30 more per night on hotels and go for more stars, according to the Wall Street Journal. As a result, theonline travel site shows these users different, more expensive travel options first. To avoid inadvertently paying more, sort results by price.

2. Their Software Doesn’t Always Sync With the Hotels
A guaranteed reservation is almost impossible to come by—but the risk of finding out your flight or hotel is overbooked increases with third-party providers. The middleman’s software isn’t immune to system errors, so always call the hotel or airline to make sure your booking was processed.

3. Double-Check Packaged Deals
Ever notice how travel sites recommend one-stop shopping, like a hotel, rental car, and tour package all in one click? These deals usually feature travel that no one wants, like flights with multiple layovers. Check the fine print.

4. A Travel Agent Might Be Better
According to the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the average service fee for booking airline tickets in 2009 was around $20. Yet that can outweigh $100 or more in straight savings, as well as added benefits (like upgrades and better flights) you can get from a travel agent. The New York Times’ frugal traveller did a series of test runs, finding the best available flights online and comparing that to what a travel agent could do. The results: usually, the travel agent came in cheaper—fees included.

5. Last Minute Travel Isn’t What It Used To Be
At the advent of the online travel site boom, last minute was the time to book—cheap flights! Cheap hotels! Getaway this weekend! But the buy-and-fly magic has ceased to exist; now your sweet spot is about six weeks (or 42 days) before departure.

6. You Won’t Build Hotel or Airline Loyalty
Don’t book online if you want to rack up those miles or points—at most, you’ll get the minimum, and your booking won’t make you eligible for any special offers, like double points on weekend stays. Work directly with a company or travel agent to build up the loyalty points that will get you upgrades and priority rewards.

7. Travel Agents Often Have Exclusive Perks
Online booking sites are all about dates, rates, and space, meaning their goal is to put heads in beds, says Misty Ewing at Virtuoso luxury travel network. But for the same price, an agent might have connections and special access. “For example, when travelling in Italy, you can take a cooking class with a local resident in her home—a level of authenticity not provided by the Internet,” she says.

8. Corporate Travel Needs Are Often Better Done in Person
Planning a small business trip can become a logistical mess, and online travel sites offer little help. But specialty business travel agencies can help their clients with corporate events, meetings, and special services that online travel sites don’t deal with—and might be more likely to get you refunds on unused tickets.

9. You Might Not See Every Option Online
No travel site will show you options from every airline—and no one includes budget-friendly picks like Southwest or Ryanair. But travel sites leave out even more options for lodging, listing big names and omitting comfy little inns, bed-and-breakfasts and other rentals.

10. Once Your Trip is purchased you’re On Your Own
All trips, no matter how well planned, are vulnerable to cancelled flights, subpar hotel rooms, or torrential weather. An online travel agency can’t provide assistance the same way an agent can. Basically, when you arrive at the airport or hotel, you’re just another client who booked at the lowest rate. “You can’t VIP yourself,” says Ewing.

11. Online Deal-Sites Can’t Give First-Hand Experience
A website can’t tell you the exact location of the room, the view, the size, or whether or not the room needs renovation. You’ll have to do more research on your own or risk getting stuck in the dimly lit room in the back of the building with a picture-perfect view of the A/C shaft.

12. They Also Aren’t As Current as an Agent
An online travel site often isn’t going to share if construction is happening in the hotel or somewhere near by. Researching on other sites might turn up this information, but an agent is likely to be the best resource for knowing what’s going on.

13. …Or Know Who Else is Staying There
Planning a romantic getaway for two? That won’t matter to a group of high schoolers on their senior trip at the same hotel. An online travel agent can’t tell you when a large group is in-house, making it uncomfortable for the few guests who aren’t in the group.

Tips to Avoid Losing Your Luggage
Nothing can add more stress to a long trip than losing your luggage. These six handy tips can help ensure that you and your bags arrive at the same time̶—and in one piece.

Carrying luggage on a cart.

Losing your luggage is the last thing you need on a trip! These tips will help keep your luggage safe.

1. Travel Light
If you’re going on a short trip, take only a carry-on. No luggage to check means none to lose.

2. Label Your Luggage
Laminate your business card—or any card that has your contact information—then attach it securely to your suitcase.

In addition, tape a card that has your contact information to the inside of your luggage. If the label outside gets torn off, Keyter says, the airline can still identify your bag.

3.Choose a Distinctive Suitcase
Get luggage that has an uncommon colour or pattern. Alternatively, put a distinctive detail on your suitcase. Keyter believes she got her lost luggage back partly because of its unique baggage strap—red with a maple leaf.

 4.Check the Airport Code

Make sure the person who is tagging your bag affixes the correct code of your final destination airport. You can find airport codes at www.world-airport-codes.com.

5. Go for a Direct Flight
“There’s huge room for error with connecting flights,” Keyter says. “Luggage often doesn’t make the [next] flight when [the previous one] is delayed.”

6. Be Mindful at the Carousel
Many suitcases look alike, so it’s easy for someone accidentally to take yours off the carousel. “I wouldn’t hesitate to go over and say, ‘Just want to check you’ve got the right bag,’” Keyter says.

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One comment to “TRAVEL TIPS”

  1. Comment by Anna:

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